The not-so-saintly St. Patrick’s Day

March 17 brings on a wave of people wearing green, fake beards and, unfortunately, over-consumption of supposedly “Irish” beverages.

My first memory is at a St. Patrick’s Day parade. I remember sitting on my father’s shoulders with a very smudged painted shamrock decorating my cheek, and being allowed for the first time in my very young life to be as loud as I wanted. My three younger siblings also have fond memories of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Denver.

St. Patrick’s Day is a large part of my life, and in recent years I have been disappointed to witness the originally religious holiday change into something else

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In the eyes of an Irish American person, the American version of the holiday doesn’t necessarily reflect our traditions.

In Ireland, my family celebrates the holiday by going to Mass, then returning home to have a nice family lunch or, if the usually boggy Irish weather permits, a picnic followed by a game of tag, Frisbee or football.

On this side of the Atlantic Ocean, “Irish” people celebrate their heritage by guzzling cheap “Irish” beverages and wearing cheap clothing announcing their supposed Gaelic ancestry. True, there are traditional parties at small pubs that include dancing and music, but the majority of the holiday is celebrated in the United States on the streets among inebriated college students.

Many young women squeeze into outfits considered inappropriate to go to school in. I have one question for them: if it isn’t okay to wear that to school, why is it then considered okay to wear something like that on a day that is supposed to commemorate national pride and religion?

Last year, after witnessing many DUI’s and almost being flashed by a young man, my mother made a proposal that nearly broke my heart:

“Maybe we shouldn’t go downtown on St. Paddie’s anymore—if the kids are going to see that.”

That. People commemorated being Irish by being more rowdy than normal, getting drunk and flirting with strangers, all for the sake of temporarily returning to their original roots. My mother and I had watched in horror as a drunk man stood on the balcony of his apartment building, catcalled us and then attempted to undo the front of his trousers. None of this behavior had anything to do with any specific culture, let alone the Irish. A day that was so important to my family had morphed into a day that people could behave inappropriately because it was considered socially acceptable. It seemed to me as if people had taken a bunch of undesirable characteristics and stuck it onto Ireland, which angers me as it seems like a type of racism that everyone is okay with.

To an Irish American who has grown up in two different cultures, it seems as if Americans think of the Irish as people who fight, get drunk and have a lot of babies. They never stop to consider that people as supposedly corrupt as the latter would ever be able to function, let alone help the United States of America become the amazing country that it is today.

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Mr. Eagle winner explains the triumph of winning

Merrill hiking the Mount of the Holy Cross, a fourteener near Vail.

Jay Merrill, who won Mr. Eagle three years ago during his senior year at Heritage High School, is currently attending Colorado State University.

“I’m studying geology and it rocks! No pun intended,” says Merrill.

According to Merrill, winning Mr. Eagle was a monumental achievement of his.

“When Jay Merrill won Mr. Eagle three years ago, anyone who knew him personally wasn’t especially surprised. We were all happy for him though,” says Erika Neave, a friend of Merrill’s.

“Do you want to know what it’s like to fly on the wings of eagles? To conquer new ground and look fear in the face? Winning Mr. Eagle will make one lucky senior a new man, a new leader…an eagle. Well figuratively an eagle, but you get the point,” Merrill remarks.

Merrill reminisced on some of the stage fright he had during the event and has some advice for the contestants this year.

“When the curtain opens and you find yourself staring at a theater full of students, friends and family, just smile, relax and be yourself. It’s guaranteed to help you win,” says Merrill. “If anything, just put on a good show. Even if you don’t win still make your performance memorable for everyone there.”

Merrill wishes all of the contestants good luck and is eager to hear who and how someone wins this year’s Mr. Eagle performance.

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American Sniper under fire

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American sniper is more than just Hollywood propaganda.

On January 16, the movie “American Sniper” was released to the general public.

On the surface this movie seemed like just another war movie showing how “bad” the people we were fighting were, and it’s easy to understand how this misrepresentation of the movie is understood. But something commonly overlooked is that the movie was based on true events; it wasn’t a fictitious script drafted up by a Hollywood producer trying to force his views on the world. All of the events depicted in the movie were actual incidents Chris Kyle had to endure. These were actual things that were happening in that area at that time.

The other argument is that it showed Chris Kyle as an American hero because he killed these people. Critics say he enjoyed killing, and people will pull quotes out of context from his book to try and support this point. However, I believe Chris Kyle was a hero not because he killed people, but because he selflessly enlisted to serve his country and protected his men at any cost. Chris Kyle also died helping out those permanently affected by the war, giving his own free time to help those in need. To those who say he enjoyed killing, watching the movie one time will dispel this theory. Chris never took a shot he didn’t have to, never took a life that wasn’t absolutely necessary. At one point he had the opportunity to shoot a child holding an RPG aimed at his fellow soldiers, but he didn’t take it. After many tense moments, the child threw down the RPG and ran away. That, however, raises the question: if he enjoyed killing so much, why did he not take the shot?

On top of that, if this movie was supposed to be used as propaganda, it did a very poor job. The movie shone an unpleasant light on American soldiers, showing them as unnecessarily brutal and aggressive and depicted them as the bullies on the block. As well as that, it showed the detrimental toll the war took on the minds of its combatants. People seem to forget about the other half of the movie where Chris Kyle is home, showing the awful effects war can have on a person.

Chris Kyle didn’t enjoy killing, he did what he had to do to protect what he believed in—as well as the lives of his fellow soldiers—and every day he had to battle with his own demons and face the consequences of his actions.

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Scaling the peak on Pi Day

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The Alpine Club stopped to enjoy their apple pie on Bergen Peak on 3/14/15 at 9:26:54.

In celebration of Pi Day the school’s Alpine Club took a trip up to Evergreen to climb Bergen Peak.

The first sequence of numbers in the irrational number we know as pi are 3.1415926535, so Pi Day occurred on March 14, 2015, specifically at 9:26:54.

“We had planned to hike on that day anyways, but then we found out it was going to be Pi Day, which was good fun,” says Mr. Guy Warren, the club’s sponsor.

With nine students, one dad and Warren, the group left Heritage at seven in the morning on Saturday to go to Evergreen.

After hiking up for a while, Warren stopped everyone at exactly 9:26 to acknowledge Pi Day. They took some pictures before Warren pulled out some special Pi Day treats: Pie! Warren had surprised the group by buying everyone individual apple pies from McDonald’s.

The group sat around for a while eating their food and listening to “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver, and ended up changing the words to “Rocky Mountain Pie.”

“All of the Pi Day festivities just made my heart so happy. It was honestly one of the best hikes I’ve ever been on and it was with such a great group of kids,” says Silje Hayes ’15, a member of the club.

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Advisory affecting Heritage

Three days a week for approximately half an hour each day does not make up for a lot of time, but this amounts to much more than that.

While stressing over college essays and the stresses of the application process, Mrs. Jennifer Gustafson provides her advisory students with encouragement and a shoulder to lean on during the entire stressful experience.

“I’m kind of an advisory mom. I want to be a shoulder my students can lean on,” says Gustafson.

She also plans to have a more formal celebration in April, to celebrate her high achieving students in her advisory who have achieved scholarships.

“We always try to take time to celebrate the successes in my advisory,” she says.

For Mr. David Sedivy, he also sees advisory as a time to grow closer to his students.

“I make it a point in advisory that we meet for three days a week and that I touch base with them. We don’t particularly do any special activities other than things like Rachel’s Challenge, but after four years you become very close with the kids in your advisory. I still miss the kids from last year,” he says.

According to Sedivy, who has a freshman advisory, his students are still becoming acclimated and sometimes just need a break.

Advisory Sedivy and Lockyer

Mr. Sedivy looks over a student’s homework while in advisory.

“I’ll give them a little more freedom in a year or two,” he says.

Though both advisory experiences are different, they both have relatively the same core values: camaraderie and hard work, two things that Heritage is all about.

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Chasing the past Mr. Eagle dream

Many seniors may remember Danny Chase. He won Mr. Eagle two years ago.

“I urge Mr. Eagle candidates to have an original talent that would give the audience and judges an insight into their personality and character,” says Chase.

He is now attending Colorado Mesa University and studying political science. This is his second year at Colorado Mesa, but he is considered a junior credit wise.

“Winning and just being in Mr. Eagle helped affirm my confidence. However, those who know me will tell you I have never struggled with confidence,” says Chase.

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Danny Chase when he won Mr. Eagle two years ago.

 

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Change Wars for a cause

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Heritage students use change to make a change.

This year’s Spirit Week Change War money is going to the Colorado Veterans Project. Their mission is to enhance pride and patriotism in all Coloradans by building a stronger, more supportive community around our Veterans, according to the website.

“It felt good to donate because it was going towards something really good,” says Rosalie Heath Kelley ’15.

Over the duration of the week, Heritage High School raised $4253.50, according to Ms. Brethauer. All of this money will go straight to the foundation to help raise awareness of veterans and other local veterans organizations.

This organization was stemmed from Army ROTC student organizations. They now have helped 75+ veterans organizations and are the largest non-profit veteran organization in Denver.

“It’s a good thing to help such an awesome organization,” says Veronica Larson ’17.

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Juniors in the Senior Lot

When you're running late for a class and the Juniors have taken the spots, it can be very frustrating.

When you’re running late for a class and the Juniors have taken the spots, it can be very frustrating.

Even though it’s not the official “Senior Lot,” it has still been known around the school as the place where some of the seniors park. Lately, juniors have been parking there, and this has caused some seniors grief.

When I get to school and go looking for a spot in the Senior Lot, I find that all the spaces are taken, and a lot of them are occupied by juniors. To me this is frustrating; I waited until I was a senior to park here. Why can’t they? I don’t think that some juniors should feel like they can park there, it’s not their turn.

“I think it’s disrespectful that they park there. I never parked there until my senior year. It’s just like the senior pit: it’s a privilege for seniors not for juniors,” says Maggie Woodhouse ’15.

And even though it’s not totally meant for the seniors, it feels more like a rite of passage. You’ve been at school for four years and here is a little something. It’s something that the juniors should look forward to, not feel entitled to have. The class of 2015 waited for their time, and now class of 2016 should wait too.

“They take the spots that we want and fill it up. We waited, so they should too,” says  Emerson McIntosh ’15.

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